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March 2015

OFH agency room addresses clients’ use of fresh produce

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OZARKS FOOD HARVEST HAS A NEW DISPLAY IN ITS AGENCY RESOURCE ROOM. “GARDEN TO KITCHEN TO TABLE” PROVIDES RESOURCES TO AGENCIES TO ENCOURAGE CLIENTS TO USE FRESH PRODUCE.

or foodies around the country, the farm-to-table movement is big. Just check out the many Springfield farmers markets or restaurants specializing in farm-fresh fare. But for many food pantry clients, just getting food on the table is the biggest hurdle. Growing, storing and preparing fresh food may seem like an insurmountable task. Many clients are even unsure what to do with the many pounds of produce Ozarks Food Harvest has been able to direct to our member pantries. To address this issue, the Resource Room at The Food Bank is filled with lots of information that pantries can share with clients to help them take advantage of the many benefits of growing, serving and eating healthy, locally-grown produce at their own kitchen tables. It’s called, “Garden to Kitchen to Table,” and it will be on display in the Resource Room through spring. Starting with a mock-garden, there are pamphlets on each vegetable that can be locally grown in an urban or rural garden setting. The information will change as the season progresses to coincide with each vegetable’s planting time. There are also handouts and posters for agencies to take back to their clients so they can recognize the benefits of growing a garden — from family fun to building community with their neighbors. Storage of fresh produce is another issue addressed in the Resource Room. There is information about canning, freezing and even dry storage. For example, did you know that you can keep carrots fresh by placing them in moist sand in the basement? Recipe cards will help clients discover healthy and tasty ways to prepare all kinds of fresh produce. There is even information on basic kitchen supplies needed to be able to store, prepare and serve all that yummy food. Don’t know what to do with that bag of PRODUCE, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

IN THIS ISSUE

OFH looks to add more summer feeding sites SNAP assistance is too-often underutilized Reminder on agency use of bulk food items Answers to questions on TEFAP commodities


OZARKS FOOD HARVEST MAILED MORE THAN 1,000 INFORMATIONAL SNAP POSTCARDS TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO SIGN-UP FOR THE PROGRAM.

Ozarks Food Harvest utilizes direct mail for SNAP outreach Ozarks Food Harvest recently sent more than a 1,000 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps, informational postcards to encourage more eligible Greene County citizens to apply for SNAP benefits. The postcard provides information about common misconceptions involved with SNAP and the current income eligibility guidelines. It also provides information to contact OFH’s SNAP Coordinator to help clients complete their application over the phone. Research has shown that SNAP is one of the

most effective programs for helping solve the issue of hunger in southwest Missouri. Often, the number one reason people don’t apply for SNAP benefits is because they don’t think they are qualified based on their income. Last year, nearly $20 million was left in unclaimed SNAP benefits in Greene County. In fiscal year 2014, The Food Bank helped provide 260,000 meals to people in the Ozarks through SNAP outreach. For those who need the help, this assistance can be life-changing. Seven-year-old Kyndra shared, “We always have food at our house. We get our food

stamps on the 13th.” Ozarks Food Harvest’s goal with SNAP direct mail outreach is to ensure as many families and individuals as possible are aware of the SNAP program and its potential benefits for their household. By doing this, OFH can begin to make a significant impact on hunger by using the resources already available in the community. If an agency is interested in becoming a SNAP ambassador for OFH, contact Jordan Browning 417-865-3411, ext. 129, or at jbrowning@ozarksfoodharvest.org.

PRODUCE, FROM PAGE 1

red bell peppers? Try the Cream of Red Bell Pepper Soup recipe. Ozarks Food Harvest wants to help its agencies promote home cooking to help their clients eat healthy meals and save money, as well as empowering them with more ways that they can provide for their families and neighbors. The next time you visit the Food Bank, stop in the Resource Room and check out all the great resources from “Garden to Kitchen to Table.”

DID YOU KNOW? More than 700 volunteers and staff members, representing nearly 200 member agencies, reviewed the Civil Rights training and took the test in February. The Food Bank’s Glean Team is already in full swing. The team went to Ozarks Natural Foods Farm in Rogersville on March 7 to begin plans for the planting and gleaning season. Call us to find out how you can participate and benefit. Hunger Challenge #4 Final Impact Reports are due no later than March 31.


No agencies qualified to repackage bulk foods Put down that meat slicer! Just a reminder, that, unless your pantry has a Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan, you are not qualified to safely repackage and distribute bulk food products. This includes slicing bulk meats and cheeses! A HACCP plan must be approved through the FDA before you are qualified for this process. Even Ozarks Food Harvest is not qualified to repackage bulk foods. Agencies found distributing repackaged foods not only risk endangering clients, but compromising their OFH membership. Bulk packaging is recommended for congregate feeding sites only. If you have received any bulk products in error please, call Member Services at 417-380-5007. For more information on the HACCP, visit www.fda.gov/Food/ GuidanceRegulation/HACCP/

CONTACT US Ozarks Food Harvest Member Services 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. Springfield, Mo., 65803 memberservices@ ozarksfoodharvest.org (417) 380-5007 ozarksfoodharvest.org

THE USDA SUPPLIES TEFAP TO OZARKS FOOD HARVEST AND FIVE ADDITIONAL MISSOURI FOOD BANKS.

Clarification on TEFAP distribution The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes commodity foods available to the state of Missouri, and the state in turn selected Ozarks Food Harvest as one of six food banks in Missouri to distribute the food to its service area. Eligible programs agree to adhere to federal and state policies and procedures regarding distribution of TEFAP product. Specifically, an individual is not required to provide income information or residency documentation to receive these products. However, should an apparent question exist, verification may be requested. This should not delay the distribution of commodities. Here are commonly asked questions regarding TEFAP and other food assistance programs: Q: Are social security numbers required? A: Social security numbers are not required, nor recommended. There are other means for securing identification, such as birth dates, addresses or license numbers. If you choose to require social security numbers, it is recommended that you keep only the last four digits on file. Q: Who determines TEFAP allocations for each county? A: Each year the Food Distribution Unit, or FDU, calculates the TEFAP allocation

percentage for each county within a food bank’s service area. This percentage is determined using a weighted formula based on the poverty and unemployment figures for each county. The allocation percentages are provided to food banks annually in March. Q: How long should TEFAP records be maintained? A: Three years. Q: Can I refuse service to a client who becomes belligerent? A: Yes, you may refuse service to anyone who is belligerent or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Posting a sign is highly recommended. Q: If two families are living under the same roof, do I count them as one household and use their combined income? A: Under TEFAP guidelines, if two families live together, but eat separately, they are considered two households under one roof; therefore, each family’s combined income(s) are considered when determining eligibility. Q: If a client receives commodities from one pantry and in the same month goes to another pantry, that doesn’t serve commodities, to receive food assistance, can the second pantry refuse them service? A: That is entirely up to the pantry. As long as the pantry is not a commodity agency, it may serve the client. However, if the second is a commodity agency, the client is no longer eligible for TEFAP. The TEFAP agency may serve donated product, as well.


Summer sites help food insecure kids

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IN FY14, OZARKS FOOD HARVEST PROVIDED OVER 38,600 MEALS TO CHILDREN THROUGH THE SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM.

or many children in the Ozarks, summer means they will not be getting that nutritious breakfast and lunch normally available to them during the school year. This is why the Summer Food Program is so important. The Food Bank is seeking more partners — especially organizations in low-income areas — to serve free meals or snacks to children this summer. Reimbursements are given based on the number of creditable meals or snacks served. Last summer, 18 summer sites operated in nine counties, serving over 38,600 meals. OFH wants to grow this program to eventually reach its entire 28-county service area. Sharon Anderson, director of the Ash Grove Assembly summer program said, “Starting up the Summer Kids Café last year was a great thing for the Ash Grove community. We were able to expand our food program and saw many kids who would normally go without meals during the summer months enjoy a nice meal and snack. We are excited to once again partner with the Ozarks Food Harvest this summer and see the Kids Café of Ash Grove grow.” Member agencies are crucial to growing this program. If you know of any organizations in your area that may be interested, please pass along that OFH needs help. For more information on the Summer Food Program, call or email Erin Thomason at 417-865-3411 or ehenderson@ ozarksfoodharvest.org.

LOOKING AHEAD...

New OFH website debuts next month Ozarks Food Harvest is unveiling a new website next month. The site is designed to be more appealing to donors and encourage online giving. Agencies will still have the same resources currently available at

ozarksfoodharvet.org, but instead of clicking the “Our Agency Network” tab on the left of OFH’s current site, agencies should now click on the new tab, “Agency Access,” located on the top right of the page.

National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 12-18 OFH staff in Jefferson City March 17-18 to advocate for TEFAP and SNAP OFH is closed April 3 in observance of Good Friday

Network News, March 2015  
Network News, March 2015